What's New :

24th February 2023

Neutral Citation System


The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has announced that the Supreme Court will adopt a “neutral citation system” for its judgments.


What is a “citation”?

  • A case citation is essentially an identification tag for a judgment. Typically, it would contain a reference number, the year of the decision, the name of the court that delivered that judgment, and shorthand for the journal publishing the judgment.

What is a neutral citation?

  • A neutral citation is a form of citation where courts assign a unique sequential number to each decision.
    • This would assign its own citation — distinct from those given by traditional Law Reporters.
  • Law Reporters are periodicals or annual digests that publish judgments, often with an editorial note to make it accessible for lawyers to refer to precedents.

Why is a neutral system excellent or necessary?

  • Judgments mention citations while referring to precedents and often use citations from different Law Reporters.
  • With artificial intelligence (AI) enabling the translation of judgments and transcribing of court proceedings, a uniform citation is necessary.
  • Several High Courts including Delhi High Court have started a neutral citation format.

The Delhi HC neutral citation is, for example, in this format: No-YEAR/DHC/XXXXXX.


  • The objective is to enable people to identify cases and text in them by reference to a single, unvarying reference, no matter the medium of publication.

MP’s Van Mitra portal and Forest rights claims


An activist working for the rights of the tribals with JagritAdivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) in Burhanpur Madhya Pradesh, during a field visit has highlighted the misuse of the Van Mitra portal — which was created to facilitate the review of rejected claims, has now become a tool to fraudulently reject claims of Tribals.


About the scenario:

  • On February 13, 2019, in a matter pertaining to the constitutionality of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA), the Supreme Court of India (SC) directed the states to evict those FRA claimants whose Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims were rejected. 
  • The apex court had ordered the eviction of 1,191,273 tribals across 20 states of the country.

Van-Mitra Portal:

  • It is an online portal launched by Madhya Pradesh government in 2015.

Concerns highlighted:

  • The individuals who file the claims through the Van Mitra portal are generally illiterate or have little formal schooling with no familiarity with the world of the internet.
  • They approach the MP Online kiosk operators to help them fill up the application.These kiosk operators charge 200-Rs 500 to fill up their forms when the state government already pays them Rs.60 just to fill up the form to help the ST and OTFDs file the claims.
  • Secondly, they upload documents without properly reading them, often mixing up different individuals’ documents and printing out the receipt.

Role of Forest Rights Committee (FRC):

  • The FRC is supposed to verify the claim and then ask for Gram Sabha’s recommendation before forwarding it to the sub divisional level committee (SDLC).
  • But what is happening on the ground is far from the set guidelines.

The Forest Rights Act:

  • The Act seeks to act as an extension to the mandate under the Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India that seeks to protect ingenious communities. 
  • It also envisages encouraging local self-governance at the level of the inhabitants.
  • The Act guarantees rights for forest dwellers within different categories. Firstly, for the usage of forest resources – Section 3(1) (c)guarantees the forest dwellers the right to use minor traditionally obtained forest resources like tendu or herbs.

Who is a forest dweller?

  • The Act also explains what it categorizes as forest dweller. There are two important stages for the determination of the definition.
  • The first stage involves conditions that are supposed to be satisfied to qualify as a forest dweller –
    • The person(s) should inhabit forests or forest lands.
    • The person should be bonafide dependent on the forest, its land, and resources for their livelihood. 
  • The second stage involves proving the following –
    • Section 2 (o) of the Act stipulates that the aforementioned conditions of stage 1 need to be true for seventy-five years, a period which will deem a person as an Other Traditional Forest Dweller. 
    • Section 2 (c) of the Act provides that the person is a member of the Scheduled Tribe.
    • Section 4 (1) of the Act provides that the person is a resident of an area where they are scheduled. In the latter case, the person has deemed a Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe. These sections make it very clear as to whom these rights are for and who can be called a forest dweller in order for the rights to be guaranteed to them.

Issues faced by forest dwellers:

  • Poor implementation remains
  • Many tribal communities still have not been granted their traditional rights over the forests.
  • Lack of awareness among the forest dwellers
  • Unfair rejection of claims
  • Lack of intent and cooperation on the part of the bureaucracy to transfer authority to the forest dwellers. 
  • Lack of official and credible data available about the forest dwellers and resources 
  • Illegal encroachments and seizure of forest lands by the administration
  • Forced eviction
  • The majority of the forest dwellers claimed land measuring not more than one acre (Ceiling under FRA- 4 hectares)
  • Severe restrictions:
    • Farming is not allowed in a normal way, a slight sound demurs
    • The use of fertilizers is banned, and even a small knife is not allowed to be carried into the forest.
    • People are prohibited from cutting trees falling

Conditions for Indian Farmers in 2023


The increasing Farmer distress due to abnormal climatic conditions, since last few years have continuously hurting food security and leaving farmers in a bad condition.

  • The three-year La Nina with El Nino makes an entry in 2023 by July.
  • At the beginning of 2022, extreme rainfall and cold waves dashed that hope by damaging standing crops.
  • While the world was entering into a severe food crisis as the Russia-Ukraine war started, Indian farmers had their own battles to fight.
  • The early heat hitting in the month of February has destroyed the Rabi crops, further deteriorating the condition.


During El Nino Year:

During La Nina Year:

  • El Niño results in deficit rainfall which tends to lower summer crop production such as rice, sugarcane, cotton and oilseeds, therefore, the outcome might be seen in form of high inflation rates and lower GDP due to the high contribution of the agriculture sector in the Indian economy.
  • El Niño events are mostly associated with warm and dry conditions in southern and eastern inland areas of Australia, as well as Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and central Pacific islands such as Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
  • Previously El Niño had a strong association with droughts in India but this relationship has been weekend in recent years.
  • El Niño conditions mostly coincide with a period of weak monsoon and rising temperatures in India and thus the probability of drought occurrence surges during El Nino events that could be disturbing for Indian crop production and water supply.
  • La Nina could have negative impacts on Indian agriculture. Farmers will be at risk of losing their standing Kharif crops if it rains during this period.
  • The harvesting of the kharif crops begins in September-end or early October.
  • La Niñas normally raises crop prices and create more fluctuations in energy markets, especially with the record-breaking prices
  • Spring freezes are more common during La Niña, especially in the Great Lakes region, thanks in large part to cooler Great Lakes temperatures and fluctuating jet stream patterns
  • During winter, the corn belt will have some very strong, severe storms
  • In general, more rainfall can be expected.

Other impacts:

  • Ocean temperatures of 4? to 6? F below average are observed in the eastern Pacific Ocean
  • Cold water in the eastern Pacific shifts the location of thunderstorms, rising air, and lower pressure to the western Pacific
  • Cold water from the deep ocean provides increased nutrients for fish and plankton, leading to improved fishing and to sustenance for birds and other predators in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Where is the safety net for farmers?

  • Marginal and small farmers, as per the 2015-16 agriculture censuses, account for 86% of total farmers in India and are the most vulnerable to extreme weather events.
  • A senior leader of Sanykt Kisan Morcha (SKM), Darshan Pal says that climate vulnerability is the new distressed factor, especially among marginal and small farmers because their shock absorbing capacity is far less than big farmers.
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has also underlined the poor performance of crop insurance.
    • In a book published recently, NABARD has argued that crop insurance is no longer a “perfect medication” for farmers hit by natural calamities.

Government Interventions:

PradhanMantriFasalBima Yojana (PMFBY):

  • Launched in 2016 and is being administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Replaced the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
  • Aim: To provide a comprehensive insurance cover against the failure of the crop thus helping in stabilising the income of the farmers.
  • Scope: All food & oilseed crops and annual commercial/horticultural crops for which past yield data is available.
  • Premium: The prescribed premium is 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops. In the case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium is 5%.
    • Premium cost over and above the farmer share was equally subsidized by States and GoI.
    • However, GoI shared 90% of the premium subsidy for the North Eastern States to promote the uptake in the region.
  • Implementation: By empanelled general insurance companies. The selection of the Implementing Agency (IA) is done by the concerned State Government through bidding.
  • PMFBY 2.0: The revamped PMFBY is often called PMFBY 2.0, it has the following features:
    • Completely Voluntary: Enrolment is 100% voluntary for all farmers from 2020 Kharif.
    • Earlier, it was compulsory for loanee farmers availing Crop Loan/Kisan Credit Card (KCC) account for notified crops.
    • Limit to Central Subsidy: The Centre has decided to limit the PMFBY premium rates - against which it would bear 50% of the subsidy - to a maximum of 30% in unirrigated and 25% in irrigated areas.
    • More Flexibility to States: The government has given flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features.
    • Investing in ICE Activities: Insurance companies have to now spend 0.5% of the total premium collected on information, education and communication (IEC) activities.


Restructured Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme:

  • Launched in 2016 and is being administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Aim: To mitigate the hardship of the insured farmers against the likelihood of financial loss on account of anticipated crop loss resulting from adverse weather conditions relating to rainfall, temperature, wind, humidity etc.
  • Parameter: WBCIS uses weather parameters as “a proxy. for crop yields in compensating the cultivators for deemed crop losses.

The environmental costs of the Russia-Ukraine War


With the first anniversary of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the environmental cost of War has raged across the countries and is claimed by Ukraine as over 50 Billion Dollars.

  • The war has killed thousands, displaced many more, left many with debilitating injuries, flattened towns and caused immeasurable suffering.
  • The machinations of modern war impact the environment in more ways than one.
  • From sky-high fuel consumption and a ginormous carbon footprint to the degradation of thriving ecosystems caused by the fighting, the conflict in Ukraine has racked up environmental costs that will far outlive the actual fighting.

What are the Environmental losses that occurred?

  • Fighting-induced destruction: According to UN Environment Programme data, the conflict has seen damage across many regions of the country, with incidents at nuclear power plants and facilities, energy infrastructure, including oil storage tankers, oil refineries, drilling platforms and gas facilities and distribution pipelines, mines and industrial sites and agro-processing facilities.
    • The result has been multiple air pollution incidents and potentially serious contamination of ground and surface waters.

According to claims by Ukraine’s environment ministry, altogether the losses from land, water and air pollution amounted to $51.4 billion.

  • Astronomic carbon footprint: The war has an extremely large carbon footprint. Ukraine estimates the emissions from Russia’s invasion to be roughly around 33 million tonnes of CO2 from the conflict and 23 million tonnes of CO2 from fires caused by the conflict.
    • It predicts that the reconstruction of infrastructure and buildings destroyed or damaged during the war could emit 49 million tonnes of CO2.
    • The monster machines used during the war, consume roughly between 3.5-5.5 litres of fuel per km. For comparison, a modern car can travel well over 15 km per litre of fuel consumed.
  • Violation of Environmental conventions: Russia has violated several environmental conventions in terms of destroying nuclear and radioactive elements, pollution and carbon emissions.

The war against Environment:

Military activity has significant impacts on the environment. Not only can war be destructive to the socio-environment, but military activities produce extensive amounts of greenhouse gases (that contribute to anthropogenic climate change), pollution, and cause resource depletion, among other environmental impacts.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions and pollution
  • Land and resource use

Global Conventions:

  • From a legal standpoint, environmental protection during times of war and military activities is addressed partially by international environmental law.
  • Several United Nations treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the 1977 Environmental Modification Convention have provisions to limit the environmental impacts of war.
  • The Environmental Modification Convention is an international treaty prohibiting the military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects.
    • The Convention bans weather warfare, which is the use of weather modification techniques for the purposes of inducing damage or destruction. This treaty is in force and has been ratified (accepted as binding) by leading military powers.

HIV-resistant mutation


Recently a Dusseldorf patient has become have been “cured of HIV” achieved with a bone-marrow transplant from people carrying a specific HIV-resistant genetic mutation.


About HIV:

  • HIV/AIDS is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immuno deficiency virus (HIV), a retrovirus.
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people's-defence against many infections and some types of cancer that people with healthy immune systems can fight off.
  • The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome(AIDS), which can take many years to develop if not treated, depending on the individual.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases.

  • Spread and causes: It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment.
  • If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
  • Treatment: The human body can’t get rid of HIV and no effective HIV cure exists.
  • AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus.

What is CCR5 mutation and how does it fight off HIV?

  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) mainly attacks the CD4 immune cells in the human body, thereby reducing a person’s ability to fight off secondary infections.
  • The CCR5 receptors on the surface of the CD4 immune cells act as a doorway for the HIV virus.
  • However, the CCR5-delta 32 mutation prevents these receptors used by the HIV virus from forming on the surface, effectively removing the doorway.
  • Only 1 per cent of the people in the world carry two copies of the CCR5-delta 32 mutation – meaning they got it from both their parents – and another 20 per cent carry one copy of the mutation, mainly those of European descent.

Effectiveness of CCR5 mutation against HIV:

  • With the mutation existing in very few people and nearly 38.4 million people living with HIV across the world, it would be very difficult to find a matching donor in the first place.
  • The mutation occurs mainly among Caucasians, and the donor pool shrinks further for many, especially those from countries with high HIV burdens.
  • However, even if donors were to become available, experts believe it is highly unlikely that bone marrow transplants can be rolled out for all those with HIV.
  • This is because it is a major procedure with high risks associated, especially that of the person rejecting the donated marrow.
  • There is also the likelihood of the virus mutating to enter the cells through other mechanisms in such persons.

Short News Articles

Polity and Governance

Linking Aadhaar to Voter ID


As per the response from the Election Commission (EC) through RTI has disclosed that over 60% of India’s 94.5 crore voters in India have linked their Aadhaar number to their voter IDs.


  • The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 was passed to deduplicate electoral rolls by allowing election authorities to collect the 12 digit number from voters.
  • Key findings:
  • The total number of voters who have their Aadhaar linked is 56, 90, 83,090.
  • Tripura has the highest rate of Aadhaar linking; over 92% of voters in the State.
  • The per-State percentages given here are based on total voter enumerations released by States and Union Territories in the past three years.
  • After Tripura, Lakshadweep and Madhya Pradesh occupy the second and third spots, with over 91% and 86% of voters having provided the number respectively.
  • Voters in southern States have not provided their Aadhaar in such proportions, even though they are above the national average.
  • Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka both fell to 71%, whereas the number stands around 63% and 61% for Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • The State with the lowest Aadhaar registration by voters is Gujarat, where only 31.5% of voters have linked the document to their voter registration.
  • Less than 34% of voters in the Delhi had their Aadhaar linked.

Polity and Governance

SangeetNatakAkademi awards


President DroupadiMurmu has presented the SangeetNatakAkademi awards and fellowships for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.


  • On the occasion, eight eminent personalities were given SangeetNatakAkademi Fellowships in the field of performing arts
  • A total of 128 artists from the field of music, dance, theatre, traditional, folk, and puppetry were given the Awards.
  • The Akademi also honoured 86 artistes with special one-time awards commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence.
  • The Awards:
  • The awards are given to the artists from the field of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts etc.
  • The Akademi Awards carries purse money of Rs. 1.00 lakh, a Tamrapatra and an Angavastram.


Indians' Spending on Foreign Property







Indians spent the most money in a decade on foreign securities, property and a deposit in 2022, Business Standard has reported.

Findings of the report:

  • A record of $ 2.1 billion, invested by Indians on foreign stocks and property in the 10-year period for which the Reserve Bank of India has mentioned.
  • In each of the categories – foreign deposits, property, shares and other investments – the figures were the highest in record.
  • Indians’ investments in 2022 in foreign equity or debt were at $969.5 million, also a record high.
  • The liberalised remittance scheme:
  • The Union government allows Indian individuals to spend up to $250,000 for various purposes including education, medical expenses, gifts, donations, travel and maintenance of close relatives and so on, in addition to investments in deposits, property, and share and in other avenues.
  • Under this scheme Indians can open a foreign currency account abroad, acquire immovable property, extend loans to non-resident Indians, buy art and so on.


Cyclone Freddy


Cyclone Freddy has hitted in Madagascar by travelling 7200km from Australian Coast to South-western coast.


  • Freddy travelled around 7,200 km from the southeast Indian Ocean to Madagascar in 15 days, according to the United Kingdom Met Office.
  • This is the first time since 2000 that a cyclone has moved such a long distance from the south-eastern parts to the south-western parts of the Indian Ocean.
  • The storm carried winds of 130 kilometres per hour at landfall and has brought torrential rainfall for south-eastern Madagascar, killing five people.


Safe across borders


  • India and Singapore have recently announced to link their payment apps, namely UPI and PayNow which will allow instantaneous and low-cost money transfers between the two countries and is set to ease financial transactions for the Indian diaspora.

Need to diversify:

  • To link cross-border citizens: The linkage marked the start of a cross-border link for real-time person-to-person money transfers between South Asia’s largest economy and its littoral neighbour across the Malacca Strait.
  • To facilitate payment for Indian Diaspora: A sizeable Indian diaspora with thousands of migrant workers employed in Singapore’s construction industry, marine shipyard and services sectors.
  • To enhance currency exchange: The link now enables individuals wishing to remit either Singapore dollar (SGD) or Indian rupee funds for the ‘maintenance of a relative’ or as a ‘gift’ to transfer the money seamlessly using the UPI at the Indian end and the PayNow app at the Singapore end.
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